DA slams Ramaphosa’s commitment to nationalise the Reserve Bank

Please see attached a soundbite by Dr Dion George MP

“Nationalising the Reserve Bank will deepen South Africa’s negative economic spiral” said Dr Dion George, the DA Minister of Finance.

This was in reaction to the desperate attempt by President Cyril Ramaphosa to pander to the ANC’s RET faction during the weekend, where he appeared to agree and commit to his party’s misguided plan to reignite efforts to nationalise the South African Reserve Bank (SARB).

The suggestion by the President that the nationalisation of the SARB will proceed in a “manner and pace that takes account of the cost to the fiscus” will merely serve as a slow poison for investor confidence.

There is no meaningful public interest motive in nationalising the SARB, only the furtherance of narrow political interests.

The ANC believes that it can print money to save South Africa from the economic crisis caused by its failed economic policies. That would result in massive devaluation of the Rand that our economy cannot absorb.

The nationalisation of the SARB ultimately means that the finance minister will have the power to appoint every board member from a list of nominees that are confirmed by a panel also largely appointed by the minister i.e., cadre deployment on top of cadre deployment.

Coupled with greater ministerial involvement in the SARB, this will give the government enhanced ability to unduly influence the rules in a market (in which it also competes) by altering the scope of the SARB’s mandate as it pleases.

However, the importance of an independent SARB goes far beyond this. In managing the country’s money supply and overseeing the banking sector, the SARB is the anchor for the country’s economic stability.

Left in creditable, independent and technocratic hands, it serves as an institution that can take necessary and often unpopular decisions. Where it is commandeered by politicians and cadres, the temptation would inevitably be to throw off the restraints and do what is immediately expedient, with the risk that in a deteriorating economic environment, it will ultimately collapse our currency.

This was clearly never a rational policy stance by the ANC. It is irresponsible, ill-informed and has thus far only succeeded in alienating investors by worsening perceptions of South Africa’s policy environment.

“Any prospect of economic recovery depends on a policy environment that is focused on growth. This requires of the government to abandon anti-growth, confidence-sapping policies like nationalising the SARB” said George.

It is not good enough simply to say that nationalisation will proceed in a manner that is “cognisant of the likely cost implications for the fiscus”. This policy stance must be permanently abandoned.

The DA therefore strongly opposes the threats by the ANC to the independence of the Reserve Bank.

Parliament is not a prison yard – remove the barbed wire

Please find attached soundbite by Natasha Mazzone MP.

“The Heritage Council must urgently intervene and order the removal of the barbed wire that was erected right around Parliament and limits access to the Company Gardens by the public,” said Natasha Mazzone, DA Chief Whip.

“From the outside, the parliamentary precinct looks like a cordoned off prison yard!”

Mazzone was referring to the barbed wire, fencing and blockades that the South African Police Service (SAPS) has erected along the entrance to the Company Gardens at Government Avenue via Wale Street months ago. Residents and tourists are being blocked from entering the Gardens through Cape Town’s earliest throughways.

The DA was informed by the Secretary to Parliament, Xolile George, that SAPS installed the barbed wire as an extra security measure after breaches to the precinct. While we agree that Parliament must be protected, especially in light of the fire that decimated the National Assembly in January, defacing a Grade 1 National Heritage Site cannot be the way to accomplish this.

However much the Minister of Police, Bheki Cele, and his ANC comrades might wish it to be, South Africa is not a police state. The Parliamentary precinct has an important role to play, not only with regards to tourism, but also for social cohesion. It is a symbol of a democratic country where everyone is free and equal under the Constitution. Instead of encasing it in barbed wire and restricting access to public gardens, SAPS must find a viable solution that is in line with the National Heritage Resources Act – increased patrols in vulnerable areas or a mobile station or booth for instance.

SAPS’ measures are in contravention of a number of sections of the National Heritage Resources Act, and the DA hopes the Heritage Council finds a swift resolution to the eyesore.